Rakhdi- The bell like accessory, adorning the forehead of the bride attached to a Sheeshpal which complements the head gear and forms a beautiful frame is one of the traditional jewelry of Rajasthan which the bride wears. Marwari brides alternatively call this adornment as maang tika. Kundan Bhutti- These are a long and thick pair of earrings made of Kundan and almost kiss the neck of the bride. The enamel work exemplified by precious stones is said to have a healing touch. Raani Haar and Choker- To glamorize the sleek neck of the bride, precious stones studded choker is worn which multiplies the beauty of the bride. The elaborate version of the necklace which reaches down to the navel is called the Raani Haar or Timaniyaan. It is the epitome of royalty and is fashioned in gold along with uncut diamonds which makes it one its kind. Nathni- The Rajasthani bridal jewellery is incomplete without a nathni which is made of a gold ring and may have a few beads to make it look really classy. Bajuband and Chooda- Worn by Rajput and Marwari brides alike, a bajuband is meant to worn on the upper arm and is crafted in beautiful patterns made on gold. The chooda is a set of bangles made of gold or ivory and is essentially a symbol of marital bliss in the entire country and these are completed by delicate yet beautiful pahunchis and hathphulis which complement the mehndi designs and glorify the fingers of the bride.
Thewa, is specifically a Marwari jewelry designing technique which is renowned all over the world. It is a well-crafted age old tradition of designing jewellery by experimenting with the style according to the new age demand. The piece is created with zari, beads and lac and is extremely famous amongst the women folk till date. The traditional rajasthani art of thewa can be traced back more than 300 years. It reflects the royal life style of Rajasthani and Mogul kings. The art of thewa is kept as a proprietary secret art form within the family with the techniques being carefully guarded and handed down from father to son. Thewa is an exquisite art of fusing an intricately worked out sheet of pure gold on to molten glass to produce exotic designs in jewellery and artefacts. The work requires intricate detailing and skilful fusion of the gold on to the multi-coloured glass. Each piece is painstakingly handicrafted by the craftsmen and only the gold sheets of highest purity is used, for the purity lends itself to the thewa technique. Thewa is a word from the local Rajasthani language which literally means “SETTING”. The gold sheet, called as “Thewa Ki Patti” is fixed to a lac-resin compound spread on a board by slightly warming the lac and then pressing the gold sheet onto it. An open work pattern is pierced thru these gold sheets placed on the lac-resin covered board by knocking off the portions which ultimately creates the intricate design. The gold sheet is gently peeled off by heating it.
Kundan is the defining style of the Rajasthani jewelry. While the Meenakaari style is also doing the rounds and winning the hearts of ladies since time immemorial. Known to be extremely vibrant in terms of the colour splashes and splendid, the style of jewellery making has been in spotlight since a long time. The style is carved on gold and silver pieces with precious and semi-precious stones studded on to it. The colour play along with the intricacies of the patterns is enough to grab the crowd’s gaze and that is how a Rajasthani bride steals the show. It is believed that Kundan jewellery first originated in India in Delhi during the Mughal period. Back then, the royal class used to adorn intricate pieces of Kundan jewellery. However, at a later stage, artisans moved to Rajasthan. That’s when Rajasthan got the reputation of making the finest Kundan jewellery in India. Today, the cities of Bikaner and Nathdwara are well known for their Kundan jewelry. Kundan jewelry is made by beating of gold in a very thin sheet. This acts as the base for the jewelry. This sheet is then filled with lac, or laakh which is a byproduct of tree sap and known to be a natural resin. It is in this lac that the stones or gems are set with a help of hot coal. In order to give the stones a strong grip on the metal, 24 carat melted gold is poured into the sides. This 24 carat gold is what is known as Kundan, and hence the name. Kundan is poured, or rather inserted in the holes with the help of a very small stick
So how do you project your ancestral royalty? A Rajasthani bride would do it for you. She becomes the epitome of grace and elegance adorning traditions from head to toe. A Rajasthani bride becomes the symbol of grandeur, as she walks like a princess, dressed in the finest trousseau completed by the precious jewellery she adorns. The entire wedding ceremony becomes a matter of great pomp and show with royalty reigning throughout and it is one spectacle that becomes an experience of the lifetime for everyone who witnesses it. . If you want to know what Rajasthan is all about, have a look at the Rajasthani bride who dons the culture in the pleats of her ghagra and carries royalty with the choker around her neck. Think of a Rajasthani Rajput bride and the image of Aishwarya Rai from Jodha Akbar will flash in your mind to give you a sneak peek of how Rajasthani brides dress up for their big day. To define opulence, look at either the Rajasthani Marwari bride or the Rajput bride. The jewellery comprises of Kundan, thewa or meena kari works and has precious stones studded to add a spark.
India’s cultural ethnicity ensures that the country has a myriad of rituals and variations and plurality in customs. People see the nation through a kaleidoscope of different zones. As you travel from South to North you would find the weddings go more gorgeous and ostentatious. In short you witness the big fat Indian wedding. Mumbai also flaunts its weddings but if you go south of the Deccan plateau you could see a contrast – the weddings simple, attractive, more devotional and less boisterous. This applies to the eastern states as well, where again there is an emphasis on the mantra or the marriage rituals more than the tamasha beyond.
In the north eastern state of Assam the wedding ceremony is divided into two parts that almost consume a week. The pre – wedding rituals are elaborate and followed by the actual wedding ceremonies. The wedding is treated as a social get together and they do not believe in pomp and show and keep their wedding low profile. Assamese wedding ceremony is also known as Biya. They are simple and adhere to age old tradition and these traditional rituals are the key to Assamese wedding. The main and the key characteristics of this wedding is the traditional even today. The ‘biyanaam’ song and sound of ‘Uruli’ creates a unique ambience of a happening and auspicious event. Uruli is the sound made by Assamese women by rolling their tongues, and is common across all states of east India.
The pre-wedding ritual consists of several ceremonies – Juran, Tel diya custom, Panitola and Nuani. Juran – This is the first day of wedding ceremony. This ritual is particularly performed by women. In this ritual, the bride groom’s mother visits the house of bride. Bride’s mother greets her and gives her warm welcome with the Xhoroi, a brass plate, in which betel nuts and betel leaves are arranged and covered with the gamocha (cotton towel)
Tel diya – This one is the main custom followed by Assamese women, preceding the wedding. In this ritual, groom’s mother puts a ring and betel leaf on her daughter in law’s hair partition. In addition, she pours oil three times and after this, she applies Sindoor and gives her wedding trousseau, which includes the saree and mekhlachadar the traditional wedding dress of the Assamese.
Pani Tola & Nuani – This ritual commences with the performance of the ceremonial bath. Pani tola means collecting the holy water by both the bride’s as well as groom’s mother, it is used for the ceremonial bath. The Bride and Groom are to sit on four kol Puli (Kol Puli is banana plant) and ceremony begins with the mother and other ladies of family applying Maah-lodhi( the paste of oil, curd, turmeric,urad dal – lentils). It is like haldi ceremony in Hindustani traditional wedding. In this ritual, the coins are given to the bride and groom to be kept with them safely. On the other hand, the knife is tied to a scarf which they have to carry till the wedding gets over.
Groom’s attire – The groom wears the dhoti, kurta and chelang which an Assamese Shawl, gifted by the bride’s family. The groom wears traditional accessories which are made up of flower and Indian basil garland. Bride’s attire – Enchantingly beautiful and traditional dress worn by the Assamese bride is called Mekhla. Mekhla is created on Muga silk and embroidered with gold and silver threads.
Muga custom is the traditional culture of Assam state; it’s the most integral part of tradition as well as the most important custom of that state. Mekhla fabric appears like a sari and comprises of two or three pieces of clothing. Mekhla is first worn as a skirt and another half is worn as anchal of the sari. The first part of the fabric is the skirt part, heavy in texture and ornamented with a broad border and work of embroidery has been done. On the other hand, the fabric on the anchal is of light- weighted and is produced in a wide array of colors.
After completion of pre- wedding rituals, wedding ceremonies begins. In Assamese wedding, the bride’s reception takes place before the actual wedding. Bride dressed in all robes attire, greets all the friends and relative all through the evening. As soon as groom’s comes, the bride is taken inside and changes into the bridal attire. The groom on the other hand wears traditional attire which is given by his in- laws. He is made to wear a wreath of fresh flowers and basil leaves.
The traditional Jewellery of Assam includes, Junbiri, Doog-dogi, Kerumoni, Thuriya, Gam- kharu, Muthi- kharu, Dholbiri, Loka- paro, Gal- pata and Jethi-pota. These ornaments are typically hand-made and mostly designs are delineate in the form of flora and fauna treasures of Assam region.
Jun Biri – In Assamese, Jun means moon and Biri is just the surrounding designs of this jewelry. It looks like half-moon and is inspired from the nature, musical instrument and other Assamese household goods. Jun Biri compliments a lot with Makhla Chadar. Brides also wear the bracelets, nose rings, made from different metals with different designs. Doog-Dogi Jewelry – This is an ancient adornment of Assamese women. Kerumoni – This round shape jewellery is one side wide and other side narrow and the middle side with hollow style called “Keru”. These necklaces are made up of a pearl that is why it is called as “Moni”.
Thuriya –This is a flower shaped earring whose middle part is slightly thin so that it can stay in ears and the bottom part is broader than the middle segment. Gam- Kheru- Gam-kheru is the big bracelet made up of silver or gold with a clasp. Muthi- Kharu – this ornament is known as the Assamese solid bracelet. You have to make a fist and the shape of your fingers clenched with it.
Dholbiri – Dholbiri is the most fashionable jewellery of Assamese women. Dhol is the musical instrument and the shape of this ornament is usually prepared with a dhol style that is why it is refer as dhol. Again biri is referring as the surrounding designs of ornament. It is called as Dholbiri. Loka-paro – It is an earring with identical twin birds positioned one after another, that’s why ‘paro’ refers to pigeon. They come in gold, ruby, mina or plain enamel coating. Jethi-pota- Is an exceptional type of earring, parallel to the orchid ‘Kopou Phool. Exquisite embellish designs and glint and gleam of this jewellery truly captivate the attention of the onlookers. Jethi-pota is an extensive band of cloth fabric as a sequence of miniature medallions.
Let’s take you to the astounding land of spices which is renowned as God’s own country’s for its natural beauty, its pristine unspoiled forests, its rivers, its back waters, the oceans and the irrepressible western ghats. A traveller’s tropical paradise, this state has few industries due to trade unionism, but a vibrant tourism sector. It is also one of India’s largest foreign exchange earners due to remittances from expats.
While the northern part of India, celebrates the nuptial ceremony with a lot of pomp and show, a typical Hindu Nair wedding in Kerala would be a simple yet charismatic affair which has no elaborate rituals and few religious compulsions. So if you want to go minimal go Kerala! and discover the Nair wedding.
The auspicious month of Chingam that is September is generally chosen for the wedding ceremony to take place and the day time is usually preferred over others. Kerala is one of the few states in India that has a matriarchal society where inheritance is not through the son but through the daughter.
Traditionally, all the ceremonies used to take place at the bride’s ancestral home but with the changing times, a convention center or a temple is preferred to suit the convenience of both the families. The nuptial arrangements begin with the quintessential task of horoscope matching followed by Muhurtham which means fixing a date for the marriage by consulting the priest. Nishchayam or the engagement ceremony takes place after the horoscopes is matched indicating the announcement of the confirmation of marriage.
Bridal Ensemble In Kerala:
So on the wedding day, the bride looks no way less than the celestial nymph with her enchanting beauty glowing more than the heaps of golds she is decked with generally. Her hair is neatly braided or tied in a bun with jasmine flowers adoring the pleats.
Traditionally, she would wear a set and mundu the lower garment on her wedding day which is also called the Kerela Kasavu Saree which is a plain white saree with a golden border in rich texture but the new age brides make their day special by draping Kanchipuram Silk Sarees in vibrant colours to accentuate their beauty. The sarees exemplify grandeur and the shimmering fibre makes the bridal couture as the undisputed queen of textile. The sarees may have zari embroidery, zardosi or kundan work to multiply the beauty of the ensemble.
The groom shines with simplicity and charm the guests in his wedding ensemble comprising of a white mundu-the lower garment which has a golden zari border circumference around it called Kasavu and a silk Jubba which is basically a high necked kurta. Some grooms might even go the traditional way by wearing seasoned shirts for the wedding. The shy smile on the face of the groom is enough to enchant the guests.
Coming to the most magnificent part of Kerela weddings, is the amount of gold jewellery that the bride dons on her wedding day. She will be decked in layers and layers of necklaces and other ornaments from head to toe, giving Disney’s Uncle Scrooge a tough call. ‘Nair’ women traditionally wore a necklace shaped like the ‘serpent’s hood’, mothiram (finger rings), Kolusu or Padasaram (anklets), Kachappram (gold or silver waist chain), Jhimki (earrings) are some of the ornaments that increase the beauty of the bride four folds, but is the myriad of necklaces which the Kerela Hindu bride dons on her wedding day which make her look like a goddess.
Kashmir is known as the “heaven on earth” the land of beautiful valleys, mountain peaks dubbed with snow, stretching green velvety plains with flowery buds and frizzy air. The beauty of Kashmir has been immortalized in Kashmir ki Kali and several other Bollywood movies .
Kashmir has a unique folk-lore, dress, language, tradition, and cuisine. Kashmiri wedding tradition is singularly beautiful and practices a large number of rituals and customs like in other parts of India.
Kashmiri wedding ceremony is full of zeal and zest and pomp. In Kashmiri weddings, the most important thing prior to the wedding is matching the horoscope of the bride and groom. Kashmiris lay prominence on seeing the compatibility between the two families in terms of status and reputation.
Apart from horoscope matching , there are several other pre-wedding rituals:- Vaana – Vaana is known as the engagement ceremony. The elders of both the family of bride and groom meet in a temple and exchange flowers that represent the formalization of wedding ceremony. Livun- In this ritual, the entire houses of both the bride and groom are cleaned. This ritual does not take place on the same day of wedding, but few days before the wedding. In this ritual, the entire ladies of the household should be present.
This ritual is similar to the Hindu wedding and consists of seven pheras in front of the holy fire, amidst mantras. In this wedding ritual, bride and groom father exchange the nutmeg as symbol of eternal friendship. The bride and groom are fed nabad and a dwar puja is conducted before going to mandap for wedding ceremony.
Wedding is followed by some post-wedding rituals. Here are some post wedding rituals Satraat – In the ritual the bride along with groom visits her parents’ house. Here the couple is presented with gifts and sweets. Roth Khabar- In this ritual, Goyh is held on Saturday, or Tuesday after the wedding. In this ritual, bride’s parents send a cake, decorated with nuts, to the groom house. Then the bride visits her parents house with the person who brought the cake and after that the groom’s family sends somebody to bring the bride back.
The saying goes that the Kashmiri bride is as beautiful as Kashmir. They are extremely graceful, with sharp features, high cheek bones and a natural blush to accompany their stall and slim appearance. The exquisite traditional embroidered bridal dresses on the tall, slim and sharp features of the Kashmiri bride enhance their stunning looks.
Kashmiri pandit brides wear an embroidery lehnga with a lot of glitz. They also wear a head gear known as Kalpush. Kalpush is an extensive cap and is lined either with silk or cotton from inside, and is wrapped at the level of the forehead in three to four layers.
A white scarf is wrapped over the kalpush known as Zoojh. Zoojh is wrapped in three to four layers over the kalpush and a snow-white paper is stitched over the Zoojh. This complete head wear is known as Tarang. The edges are stylishly and gracefully embroidered with golden and silk threads. Haligandun is a belt with its loose ends embroidered and is tied to the waist of the bride.
The lehnga has lot of Zari work done using golden threads and enhances the look with authentic hand embroidery. Dupatta enhances the look of the bride which is put over the head wear. Another bridal dress that is famous in Kashmir is Pehran. Many bridals choose to wear the Pehran which is usually made of raffle with ‘ari’ or hook embroidery at the neck and have the cuff and edges. Wedding dress of Kashmir is famous all over the world particularly in Pakistan, Baluchistan and Afganistan. Kashmirs are famous for their dazzling woven embroidery work both on silk and pashmina wool.
Kashmiri groom wear traditional dress attire called tweed Pehran with a sword in his waistband. His headgear is a turban called Gordastar to which a peacock feather is fastened with a golden thread.
Kashmiri Brides adorns heavy golden jewellery around the neck, headgear, gold bangles, and toe ring and so on. Kashmiri bride have a special and unque jewellery called Dejharoo. Dejharoo is a pair of gold pendent hanging on a golden chain through the holes in the ear lobes. Dejharoo is the Kashmiri Pandit Mangal Sutra having a similar significance as a Mangal-sutra does among all Hindus. Waist band is the integral part of the bridal wear.